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Backing out of verbal rental agreement after making deposit

Posted by sophy on June 19, 2000 at 17:37:36:

Hi Folks- Any feedback on this situation would be most appreciated!

My partner and i have verbally agreed to renting an apartment in Providence, RI. The apartment is the top floor (attic space) of a large family home. The landlords live downstairs with their children. My partner and i went to visit the place back in April, 2000, liked it, put a deposit down for first month + security deposit ($1900) to make sure that we would be able to rent it when the lease was going to start, on June 15, 2000. They did not provide a lease, so we didn't sign anything. I asked for a written receipt of our deposit payment, which i still have. We have not moved in yet; we were planning to move in on June 29th.

Since then, i have gotten in contact with the former tenants (who happen to be friends of friends) and realized that the landlords have been quite difficult to deal with. i also found out that they had illegally entered their apartment without notice and have taken some amenities away (washer/dryer, cable, included parking space, which we now have to pay for). When we asked the landlords about these issues, they didn't really respond, and have been extremely slow in responding to our questions and requests. They still have not sent us a lease to sign nor a rental agreement, even though we have asked for one.

We are more concerned about having a good/respectful relationship with our landlords/neighbors, but we are also hoping to get the deposit back since we have not used any of their facilities or services.

What can we do to get out of this situation? Given that we have not yet signed a lease nor have we moved in, can we rent somewhere else and get some or all of our deposit back?

Thanks for your help!

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